The Perfect Pants Fit

How To Get the Perfect Pants Fit | Corporette2017 Update: We still stand by this advice on the perfect pants fit; links have also been updated below. 

What is the perfect pants fit — how SHOULD should they fit? When are they too baggy; when are pants too tight? Reader K wonders…

Can you discuss proper fit of suit pants/slacks for the workplace (including trouser jeans for casual Fridays)? I can’t find anything related in the archives- I was hoping for something like the guide to hem length. How do you find the right balance between too baggy and too fitted, especially in the thighs and butt? If they have a crease on the front, should the pants be loose enough that the crease stays creased all the way up?

I’m curious what readers say here about the perfect pants fit — for my $.02, I think this is easier to say what NOT to do than what TO do. In my mind, you want to avoid:

  • creases or “smiling” across the crotch of the pants — this generally speaks to fit problems (either too tight, too long in the rise, etc)
  • anything that is so tight that you have a pantyline. While there are thongs and a number of boyshorts and bikinis that are marketed as resulting in “no VPL,” a lot of times the answer here is as simple as “you need bigger pants, hon.” (That said, check out our last discussion on favorite underwear brands.)
  • any waistband that hangs too far below or above the belly button (at least, unintentionally) — a lot of times this is a fit issue (but I would also argue that pants that sit way below the belly button just aren’t appropriate for work).
  • any crotch that hangs too low or too high. If you can see the outline of your lady parts through the pants (popularly known as “camel toe”), your pants are too tight. On the flip side, if you can grab a handful of fabric between where your body ends and your pants begin, your pants are too loose.
  • Thigh/leg wise – I would say if you can’t at least pinch an inch of extra fabric on your thighs, your pants may be verging toward “too tight.” You may find that they wear poorly (they may literally be busting at the seams) and the fabric may get thin in certain places.

I’ve tried to make a little chart with pictures of pants that are too tight and too loose here:

perfect pants fit

Some styles of pants are meant to look really tight in some places (skinny jeans, for example); some pants are meant to look really loose in some places (e.g., harem pants); but then, these are generally not styles that are appropriate for most offices.  We had a bit of a discussion about which brands fit which body types before, and I’m curious to hear what readers say here — what is your body type, and which brands of pants fit it best?  Which issues are unique to your body (and which tailoring alterations have you found to correct or mitigate the issues)?  Again, for my $.02, I’ve always had a curvy, hourglass-type figure, so my waist was often too big.  I sometimes would get the waist tailored; a lot of times I would just wear sweaters and blouses lower on my hips, untucked.  A lot of brands I avoided entirely because I always felt like they didn’t fit my curves (Theory, Ralph Lauren); others felt too long in the crotch (Talbots), while others seemed fine (Gap, Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, etc).  I’ll try to figure out how to set up a Survey Monkey survey to see if we can get more of a survey of the field going. :)

Ok, readers, over to you: how does a great pair of pants fit?  What do you look for in a perfect pants fit, and what do you avoid? Particularly, which brands and styles best fit your body type (and what is your body type)? 


What is the perfect pants fit for you? One of my general guidelines in life is that if my pants are smiling, they're too tight -- it's an easy way to know when to size up!


  1. IMO, all of the pants on the graphic are too tight for the office (even the last pair to the right – the cr*tch is too long, but the pants overall are too tight).

    This is, in part, why I stick to skirts and dresses. Whereas casual pants can be worn looser-fitting without looking sloppy, loose fitting dress pants just look sloppy. But tight fitting ones look…unprofessional. Give me a nice sheath dress any day and I’m done :)

    • I agree. It is a good thing that the manageing partner does NOT allow any of us to wear pant’s in the office. Personally, I find the new style’s way to tight in the tuchus, and if I bought a bigger size or had my pant’s ALTERED, then my pant’s would look like Barbra Eden’s in I DREAM OF JEANNIE, but she had a tuchus that could PULL THOSE OFF. I do NOT. FOOEY!

      So I thank the manageing partner for insisting on wearing dresses. Madeline especially should never be seen in slack’s because she has a supersized tuchus, and she wears alot of moo moo’s. That work’s for her b/c she does NOT have to go into court. Also, the moo moo’s make it easy for her to get in and out of the toilet without to much dificulty. YAY for her, but FOOEY for the rest of us that have to go in there soon after she use’s it. The manageing partner has promised us that our new place has very well VENTILATED toilets and that will help alot, especialy b/c they are out in the hall rather then right by my office. YAY!

    • Anonymous :

      Why can’t you use the word ‘crotch’?

    • Anonymous :

      Why can’t you use the word ‘crotch’? That’s what it’s called?

  2. This is a terrible question to try and answer — which is why I wear skirts and dresses as much as possible!

    OK Hive, I’m challenging you to help me figure out a small gift for my insanely hard-to-buy-for boss. He’s in his early 50’s and has four kids ranging in age from middle school to college. He is very religious, does not drink alcohol, does not enjoy coffee and has a very limited diet due to some significant health problems as of late. Hobbies used to include basketball and cycling but aforementioned health issues are preventing that. In fact, I think there’s a good chance he’ll be taking some FMLA leave here shortly to deal with medical stuff.

    I was thinking a month or three-month subscription to Netflix? What else am I missing?

    • I stick with giant pants. They just need to fit at the waist, drape well, and be giant everywhere.

      My test question is “Would Katharine Hepburn golf in these?” and then maybe go a little bigger.

      • ANP: I’m sorry this posted as a reply, because I have no earthly ideas when it comes to gift-buying for adult males.

      • bankratty :

        Ha! “Would Katharine Hepburn golf in these?” I’m going to embroider that on a pillow!

      • Lady Harriet :

        You need to see this: Some of them are absolutely gorgeous!

        I too am a big fan of giant pants! I have a flat behind, so something that’s purposefully loose there looks so much better than pants that are fitted everywhere but the droopy rear that I didn’t fill out. I have a very high waist, with a large stomach, so that still makes pants pretty hard to fit since almost everything gives me muffin top, falls down, or both. I have a pair of mint green wide-legged Escada pants that I thrifted for $2. They fit like a dream until I gained 5 lbs, and now they’re tight instead of drapey and amazing. :/ Skirts are just so much more forgiving!

        They’re definitely not work-appropriate, but the most flattering pair of pants I’ve ever owned are my dad’s tan corduroy Guess bellbottoms from the early 80’s. I wear them with cowboy boots and it’s awesome. The only downside is no beltloops, so I have to yank them up every so often.

      • saltylady :

        I really did read that as “you should buy the boss giant pants.”

      • Best cross-post ever! I think giant pants are a wonderful gift idea for hard-to-buy-for men!

    • Is it appropriate to buy your boss presents? The only exception I can think of is if you were invited to his/her wedding or an office baby shower.

      • Yeah, I thought there was an etiquette guide declaration somewhere along the lines of “Only buy presents downwards, not upwards.”

      • Philosophia :

        For most of two decades I was the sole employee of a sole practitioner with whom I became (with boundaries) fairly close friends, extending to connections with each other’s SO and parents, for instance. I know that’s a different world from the corporate, but in case it’s of any use, I solved this dilemma by buying books for his children during their growing-up years.

    • Don’t buy a gift for your boss. Gifts in the workplace flow downward, not upward.

      • If you really want to get your boss something, a nice card with a personal message thanking him for the ways that he has been a good boss would probably be the most appreciated. In fact, I would recommend that even if you do get him a small, token gift.

        • bankratty :

          When I clerked, wrote my judge a nice note, and tied it to a high quality chocolate bar.

      • I usually agree with this, but the associates at my new firm all buy gifts for the partners. I questioned them on it and the response was “well they give us pay checks all year long so it’s only nice to show appreciation”. I know, I know. I don’t want to be the only one not giving the partners a gift though so now I’m stuck trying to find something for them. RAWR.

        • Their logic is a little flawed. They aren’t being given their paychecks, they are earning them through hard work!!!

          • Trust me, I know. I said his to them. They don’t get it.

          • Maybe you can not go with the crowd, and the partners will take note of that, and the fact that you’re not a brown noser. Perhaps paving the way for you to make partnership amongst those doofuses? Am I living in a dream world here? ;)

        • Homemade cookies or nuts or some other kind of food?

      • Thank you!!!

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      David’s Tea has a bunch of cute travel and regular tea mugs that brew loose leaf (decaf or reg) tea. There are also tea pots too. Fairly cheap.

    • How about a book? I’d suggest a biography of someone in your industry or a historical figure. You can’t go wrong with an educational/business-based book.

    • or audible subscription, which he could listen to while walking or other exercise

  3. TO Lawyer :

    So I don’t really have a helpful response since I avoid wearing pants to work because I don’t know how they should fit (and when my weight fluctuates, they are either too loose or too tight).

    But are the grey ones on the “too tight” side really too tight? Maybe the image is too small but they seem to fit fine…

    • I think the grey ones are too tight but the middle black pair on that side are meant to fit that way. They may not work for every office but they’re cropped skinny pants, not sure how else they could fit. But yes, all those images are just hard to see. Maybe next time, there can be a zoom in feature?

      • Agreed. The grey pants are (in my opinion) definitely too tight from the knee up to be office-wear.

  4. This is why I have more or less given up on pants. I can take most skirts and dresses and wear them off the rack with almost no alterations or with something very minor and mostly optional. Pants – forget it.

    I think pants are also just made more poorly now. I recently tried some pants on and ALL of them, size up and size down, had a slight problem with the “lady parts” – I don’t think it’s always a matter of too tight, I think it’s often an issue of rise/inseam. Maybe I was looking too closely – it was barely perceptible – but I feel like once I noticed it, I couldn’t unsee it. I asked my SO and he initially said they looked fine but then agreed with me. Granted, I don’t look at women’s cr*tches too often at work so maybe everyone is walking around like this, but I just couldn’t deal so I gave up.

    Btw, Kat, not sure if you know, but the companion term to “camel toe” is the dreaded and equally heinous “polterwang.” I hope to see it mentioned in the next round up like this!

    • They may not be poorly made, they just may be poorly fit for you. Everyone’s cr*tch length and depth are different – so pants that work for one person will not work as well on someone else.

      • saltylady :

        Agreed– it’s a body shape issue. I didn’t have it before kids, but I do now, even though I’m really small. It happens with some more than others– I often can’t wear Banana Republic, for instance, the pants will be giant but tight in the crotch.

      • I’m obviously not trying to suggest that any pants that don’t work for me are poorly made. But I do notice this problem more now and my body shape is exactly the same now as it has been the last few years when this problem wasn’t a problem. Moreover, I notice it in pants that are supposed to be the same from season to season and which I own from prior years. More than anything I find that it can be a problem with one pair of pants and not a problem with an identical pair in the same size, which suggests they are not cut the same way from pair to pair, which is very much a quality control issue as far as I’m concerned. And a lot of it has to do with fabric content. Anyway, it makes me sad to think that I just shouldn’t wear pants ever again so I haven’t given up hope entirely but I have stopped trying on pants that are made of synthetic fabrics, etc.

      • hoola hoopa :

        Actually, there is a manufacturing component. Appropriate crotch depth (what often is the cause of issues) prevents the pieces from fitting tightly together on the fabric during cutting. In other words, altering the pattern to puzzle together cuts costs but results in poorer fit.

        Fittings on real people are often dropped, too, to speed up manufacturing and further reduce cost.

        Figure differences certainly play a part, but it’s not the whole story.

  5. This is where having some garment construction background comes in handy – you are at least thinking about construction elements when buying RTW stuff. There are a couple of links that are geared towards fitting pants that you are making, but also give the reason behind some of the fit issues that you’ll run into.

    • Also, from

      Fit is the third key to pants comfort and attractive appearance. Pants should fit comfortably at the waistline and fall smoothly over the hips and thighs. In well-fitted pants, the lengthwise grainline is perpendicular to the floor and creases in the legs are on the straight grain. Pants length will vary according to the silhouette.
      Some problems to avoid when making (or buying) pants include:
      Ripples at the waistline.
      Wrinkles at the crotch.
      Bagginess at the crotch.
      Waistline pulling down at center back or center front.
      Pressed creases that hang off-grain.
      Avoid pants that are too tight. Not only are they uncomfortable, but they also accentuate figure flaws.

  6. tight pants anon :

    If the rules are as outlined, I am an offender in this area, although I’m not sure I care. I certainly have pants that I think are tighter that those pictured on the left that I’ve worn to work. But I’m not sure how anyone can wear a slim leg pant that follows these guidelines, even though that it is a very modern and still professional silhouette in a pant. Like the J.Crew capri I think some with business casual offices wear? I don’t think it would meet these guidelines. An inch of extra room in the thigh seems like a lot. And I think too big pants look very sloppy.

    • I agree. I guess I just dress like a hussy in the office.

      I posted the other day about looking for new wool pants because I feel like my old ones are too baggy. They would probably conform to the guidelines posted above, but they make me feel dowdy. I think with pants, especially trouser-cut, there can be a fine line between office-appropriate and dowdy.

      Also, it is a know-your-office thing. I wear BR Sloan pants all the time and there’s no way there’s an extra inch of room in the thighs, it’s how they are cut. Still, they are entirely appropriate and perhaps even a bit on the dressy side for my office.

      Although I sometimes deplore the fashion crimes I see around the office, I am grateful to work in an office where I don’t have to obsess about whether my pants are a bit too tight or might show the occasional VPL (they can sneak up on you sometimes).

    • By these guidelines I’m definitely the hussy office worker. Oh well. Skirts make me feel awkward and dresses make me feel naked, so I guess I’ll just keep on being the hussy I am.

    • Tech hussy :

      I don’t feel comfortable in skirts and dresses, either, I feel like they just show off loose skin and general unpleasantness (I lost ~70lb) unless thick tights are involved. And pants that are loose enough per this guideline both make me look stumpy and inevitably have a yard of extra fabric in the front rise. So I guess I’ll just accept my hussy status along with my closer-fitting pants.

    • By these guidelines I look dowdy in the office – I refuse to wear tight pants and the options are either too tight or too baggy

  7. anon-oh-no :

    It sounds like all of us have been doing similar things — i have a difficult time finding slacks that fit properly, so i wear skirts and dresses most of the time.

    speaking of skirts and dresses . . . i just spent more money on clothes than i have ever, ever done. They are fairly high end designer pieces that fit amazing and are timeless styles. A fitted but not too tight dress with short sleeves — that has a detachable peplum (so when peplums are out of style, i just dont have to wear it, plus it basically makes it two different dresses). And a skirt with a cashmare shell with some beautiful pleating details. I feel good about the purchases, but am still in a bit of sticker shock.

  8. Sydney Bristow :

    Add me to the list of people who have pretty much given up on pants. I thought it was because of how I’m built but now I’m guessing it is a wider problem than that. My personal issue is that I carry my extra weight in my waist and have basically no hips to speak of. I try to buy pants that are cut more narrowly but that doesn’t always work. I always wind up with a ton of extra fabric in the hips/outer edge of my upper thighs.

    One thing to add is that I think VPL is caused both by pants that are too tight and fabric that is too thin, which seems to becoming more and more of an issue.

    • Yeah, even with quite baggy pants and undies in the correct size I used to get VPL. I really think the issue is usually the cut of the underwear and/or the pant fabric.

    • Miz Swizz :

      I’ve recently taken 4 pairs of pants to the tailor because I have the same problem with extra fabric in the hip/outer thigh area. I like my pants but I find it much easier to buy skirts.

    • I have this issue too. I have found that the Modern Fit in Ann Taylor pants to fit me quite well. I am also 5′ 3″ so I tend to do the petite sizing and going 1 size up. So, I wear a 6 in regular and a 8P.

  9. I don’t know, I think those black pants in the middle in the ‘too tight’ group look pretty darn good. But I’m mid-twenties and work in a young office. I might not wear them to a conference or interview, but I’d absolutely wear those to work.

    • saltylady :

      I’m 41 and I’d wear them with a longer blouse/jacket/sweater. But no one in my office cares what I wear.

    • Me too. And I am 30 and work in biglaw.

  10. bankratty :

    No pants at work for this lady either. They’re difficult to commute in. Fit is challenging: if they don’t make me look stumpy, they’re probably too fitted. And they make me feel poorly about my (fabulous) body. So I saw FOOEY to pants and YES to skirts and dresses.

  11. I currently have absolutely no pants that fit me that aren’t jeans. I’m pretty much ok with that. If I can just lose a few pounds I will have a few pairs again. Sigh. Thanksgiving plus a sprained ankle have not been good for me.

  12. Senior Attorney :

    All I have to say is that my pants are officially all in a twist because Mr. Senior Attorney and his lawyer served a bunch of ridiculously burdensome discovery at what was supposed to be a trial-setting conference, which means we didn’t get a trial date AND I have to answer said ridiculously burdensome discovery, which will not get him any information that will be terribly helpful to him, given the issues in the case and what I know to be his priorities. Gah. I can. not. believe. we are actually litigating this thing.

    Usually when I get divorced it goes much more smoothly than this. ;)

    • UGH, Lame!! :o( I’m sorry, SA. Boys R DUM!! RAWR

      Sending hugs and chocolate and wine! and some hopes that the soon-to-be-ex will get some of his karma back for being a dumb man. ;oP

    • More sympathy coming at you. This is not a fun process at all, especially when you fell yanked around!

      • Now you know you made the right decision ;)

        Virtual wine and chocolate to you

  13. Anon Job Hunting Question :

    Hi – going anon to seek wisdom from the Hive-

    I’m interviewing for a new job, and I’ve found that a lot of places are now trying to get me to agree to their terms in the interview, before they actually make an offer. I’ve been asked to agree to a salary, a start date, and various other conditions before there is an offer on the table (when those items would otherwise be negotiable- there’s no outside reason for inflexibility). I try to be non-committal, and say things like “I’m sure we can work that out.” But being vague is not always possible. I’d rather deal with those issues when I know what the full offer is and can negotiate, rather than just agreeing bit by bit to whatever terms they set so that they consider me for the position.

    Any wisdom from the Hive about how to deal with this? Is this the new order of things?

    • No Problem :

      “Are you making me an offer? I’ll be happy to discuss those terms when I have a written job offer.”

      And honestly, this is a pretty big red flag to me. Unless it’s just the HR rep being overly pushy (and you’ll never have to deal with HR again as part of your job), you don’t want to work somewhere that tries to push this. I know a lot of places try to push the salary question during interviews, but that plus start date and other terms of employment? Red flag.

    • I think it’s a new level of pushy. I interviewed with company A and was close to getting an offer, and they knew I was waiting on offers from companies B and C. Company A actually asked me, “If we make you an offer, will you accept it?” without giving me any salary/benefits/start date details. I told them I was very interested in the company, but I couldn’t answer that question at this point in the process. They still made me an offer, so it clearly wasn’t a deal-breaker.

      As to your question, I’m not sure why they would try to pull that crap, but if you’re worried that they might not make the offer, you could tentatively agree to the terms if they’re favorable, and then when you have the offer, you have another chance to negotiate, after “thinking it through with more information.” That seems entirely reasonable. It’s the transfer of power from the company to the candidate that has them anxious, and I think companies show that anxiety in different ways.

  14. What do you think of this dress? I normally love Kay Unger and the color yellow (see username) but I can’t figure out if this reads too baby shower/brunch for an office in the summer.

    • AttiredAttorney :

      It’s cute, but this is too baby shower/Easter dress/brunch for an office in the summer.

    • I think the dress is beautiful. With a nice cardi, I’d certainly wear it to the office.

  15. Olivia Pope :

    Pants are evil.

    In an earlier post, some of you were saying that you prefer MZ Wallace bags to Lo & Sons. (Some of you also said you wanted to stop talking about these…sorry!). Can you fit shoes in there? Is there a separate compartment for shoes?

    I want to start using the office gym in the mornings and I’d like to take files home with me as well. Just trying to find a big ole bag to put stuff in.

  16. Hey all, quick office gifting question – in my office we are asked to donate to a christmas charity where gifts are given to underprivileged children “in lieu of” buying for others at work. Despite this rule, I know someone people buy gifts for their assistants anyway. I am a young associate at a small-medium firm and I can’t get a consensus from anyone about the right thing to do – some say give a gift in addition to donating, some say it goes against the spirit of the donation rule to buy a gift anyway, because then some assistants end up with gifts and others do not (if their lawyer does the donation only). I think I have decided to get a small gift for my assistant – $25 range. I do want her to know that she is appreciated. What do you guys think? Is that too small?

    • AdvancementDir :

      I think any thoughtful gift expresses appreciation. You can find some lovely, thoughtful, personal things for $25 – pair it with a handwritten note and your assistant couldn’t ask for more.

  17. I also have an hourglassy body type (10 inch difference from waist to hip), with muscular thighs. I used to have to buy a size up in pants and have the waist taken in. However, in the past few years many stores have started offering different fits and I’ve had luck with Ann Taylor curvy, Eddie Bauer curvy, LOFT Julie, and Banana Republic Martin fits. I don’t have any experience with pricier or designer brands, as most of them don’t make petite inseams.

    • I’ve had luck with Kohls 212 collection natural fit. But in that price range, having the waist taken in is more $ than the pants so I just wear a belt. I didn’t have any luck with Eddie Bauer and I refused to try the other ones because I don’t want to spend the $ and hassle dry cleaning my pants.

  18. I feel like my pants have probably been too tight. I’m an hourglass, borderline pear, and I feel like it’s really hard to find pants that don’t whisker or crease because my butt is just THERE and my thighs pull the fabric the other way. How do you ladies deal with this and what brands work well for you?

    Also, where are the photos of pants that do properly fit? I feel like it’s pretty unhelpful to only show images of ill-fitting clothing.

    • I had some comments below – not that my pants fit well in this situation but that choosing between too small and too big in curvy fit I go for too big and wear a belt. Rather have pants too big than pants that whisker or crease on me. Drapable fabrics in bigger size helps a lot. Cotton not so much.

  19. I’m 5’11” with a 35-36″ inseam, so I’ve been battling with pants my whole life. Only recently have longer inseams become more prevalent. I also have a size 6 waist and butt and size 8 thighs. This is sort of atypical because usually thighs and butts go together. Not my tiny butt though. I’ve also read that it’s very very difficult to take the seat of pants in. If anyone has experienced otherwise, I’d love to hear about it.

    I’m surprised to hear so many of you have given up pants altogether. I can’t fathom this because I’m always cold. I’m wearing leggings under my pants this very moment. If I were to wear skirts and dresses, I’d have to find the thickest sweater tights ever.

    I’ve tried most (long inseam) retailers pants, especially recently: Gap, Banana, Ann Taylor, Loft, Express, Victoria’s Secret, JCrew, Limited. I prefer pants that are NOT dry clean only because ain’t nobody got time for that. I also prefer anything slimmer than wide leg because I wear flats mostly. Imo, wide leg only looks good with heels. So basically my tiny butt makes for a problem at most of these retailers.. the pants will fit everywhere besides the thighs otherwise it’s saggy diaper butt or bust.

    Just last week I gave Express a try again and it turns out the Columnist pant is actually pretty great for my no butt situation. I’m wearing them right now. The only issue with Express (and Limited) is I’m pretty sure they’re lying about their inseams. Most of the tall inseams claim 35″ but not all the Express pants I ordered seemed like 35″ and most of the Limited pants are 34″ (those liars!).

    I’m also sick of fabric variations. I’m an 8 and 10 depending on the fabric and style of pants at Express. I tried all of Loft’s new pants in ALL of the styles, fabrics, and in sizes 6 and 8. This amounted to ordering at least 10 different pairs of pants and the sales girls must have loved me so when I returned them all. Stupid Loft’s new pants kind of suck. Most of them don’t have front pockets. Wtf is that? They surveyed 3000 women about what they want in pants and none of them said pockets. Ok cool. Their slim no-curve pants work sort of.. but then they’re too big in the waist. I guess that’s a more ideal issue to have than the tight thighs/saggy diaper butt. Oh and a pair of Limited pants worked wonderfully but they were kind of low and I need to have the seams taken out because they’re big fat liars about the inseam.

    I just wrote a novel on the plight of the tall girl and pants.

    • marketingchic :

      I need at least a 34″ inseam, and I second your complaints, especially on Loft. Loft can’t shut up about their new pants, but I’ll never know because none of the long lengths are in store. I don’t want to order hundreds of dollars of pants to try then on. Limited and Express also have made their tall lengths online only. Even back when they only carried 2-3 boring styles in tall in stores, I usually begrudgingly bought them and picked up some tops and jewelry while I was there. Idiots.

      • How about you join me in harassing retailers to give us free tall girl shipping days?

        I actually read this great book.. The Tall Book (maybe i’m obsessed with being tall..) and the author said no one carries tall in stores because it just doesn’t turn over fast enough to justify it. Unfortunately the explanation made a lot of sense.. which is why we should be offered free tall girl shipping days dammit :)

    • kjoirishlastname :

      And so is the plight of the short girl with long inseam. I’m 5’2″, but wear 30″ – 31″ inseam with kitten heels or flats. Petite pants are usually 28-29″ and that’s just too short. But, I’m short-waisted, so the petite rise usually fits better.

      I usually end up having to buy regular and just get them hemmed.

      I recently lost 40 pounds (well, over the last 2 years), and went from a 10/12 to 0/2/4. All my pants now, until I really do stabilize (and start pocketing more money), have come from our Goodwill. I live in a college town, and fortunately, am now about the same size as the college girls! I will let them pay full price for their Banana Republic/J.Crew/Loft/Ann Taylor/Talbots/younameit pants and I will buy them second hand for $3.75, thankyouverymuch. Nothing that a dry clean or wash load can’t fix. Or a button sewn on. It’s definitely been the only thing that has allowed me to replace my.entire.wardrobe (work and play) over the last year or so. (In fact, I’m wearing a Banana Republic angora blend turtleneck sweater with Express skinny jeans today–both came from Goodwill!)

      • Short people have been telling me this for years.. but my response has always been that you can always make things shorter. It’s much harder to add length. I do know there’s other factors in play like rise and tapering in the right spot..but inches just don’t materialize out of thin air.

    • Hey, you are right about heels and a wide pant leg. This is a very helpful realization, since I prefer to wear flats…

  20. Amberwitch :

    The examples chosen aren’t completely convincing to me. But then I can’t say that I ever worried about being office appropriate when picking pants. I just evaluate for fit, quality and look – and given that I’ve got the high waist-hip ratio challenge as well as the long leg challege – I am not too picky:-)

  21. And I thought I was the only who stopped wearing pants to work – I only wear dresses and skirts. I just get uncomfortable sitting in pants all day, have the flats vs. heels issue, and I guess just find it hard to find pants I like. Glad to know I’m not alone! I like the way all those J Crew Minnie pants look in the catalog (and on my sister) but i never tried them or felt like i could make it work for work.

  22. Like Kat, I’ve got a smaller waist/larger hip issue with pants, and I’ve had similar luck with Gap/Banana Republic pants. I work in the technology side of academia, so I’m often in jeans and a blazer, and Little in the Middle jeans are the best fitting jeans I have ever owned. They are intentionally sized to be one size smaller in the waist vs. the hips; they’re basically the only jeans/pants I have that don’t require a belt.

    • I tried to buy those but they were out of stock in my size so I ended up at a dept. store buying NYDJ brand instead and they fit very well. I think they are a little big in the waist but not very much, smaller than other brand. Someday I hope to try little in the middle.

  23. Any advice on straight leg inseam length and flats? Am I doomed to go cropped? I recall seeing one girl with long straight leg pants and flats and she looked so well put together but I can’t quite recall how long the pants were.

  24. I’ve got to disagree with Kat about the VPLs. For some of us, especially those of us with “bubble” butt, VPLs can just become a fact of life- it doesn’t mean my pants are the wrong size. Different underwear can help, but that’s about it.

  25. Also, ladies with a smaller waist and fuller hips/butt/thighs, the Loft Julie pant is worth trying.. I tried all their pants in all the sizes bc I’m crazy and the waist was noticeably smaller than I remember Gaps “curvy” pant being.

    • I cannot give up pants for work. It is -10 C today and colder months are coming.

      I am an hourglass, just lost 18 lbs and my fit issues have not disappeared. I am traveling to a bigger city Friday for Xmas shopping and going to try the LOFT. I find US stores are better than Canadian retailers for curvy sizes. I recently bought BR Martin and was happy but I need to replace too many to pay full price.

    • Also try Kohls 212 collection natural fit pants and JCPenney Worthington curvy fit collection if you want curvy pants that are machine washable. They are too big in the waist though and having them altered costs more than the pants.
      I have several pairs of the Kohls 212 collection pants and am looking for something higher quality and available in more colors and still machine washable but have not found anything. I read previous posts but all the pants brands the curvy girls recommended were wool and dry clean which I can’t do. I don’t have the time or the money ($10/time) to dry clean them all the time. I use the non toxic dry cleaners and they are really expensive.

      I can’t give up my pants for skirts – I don’t like skirts, I don’t like heels, I walk a lot at work so heels do not work, and I have to wear pantyhose (not for dress code reasons) which I don’t like either.

      I am a curvy hourglass with a JLo booty and find pants very very frustrating – unless they are curvy fit they are way too tight in the thighs and butt. I can’t wear the Limited Editor pants highly recommended by Corporette readers for that reason. If they are curvy fit they are tight in the butt and way too big in the waist but the pants I have found are too cheap to be worth altering as mentioned above. I think I am currently in between sizes so I can choose between really big pants and too small pants (small in hips/butt) so I choose the really big pants and belt them closer to my actual size. When I have to size up the pants they barely fit in the butt – still have to watch for VPL – and too big in the waist which is annoying to wear every day. I find it really hard to find pants that are not too tight in the butt. Not all women with JLo butts want to accentuate their butts with really tight pants!! I thought the JLO brand of pants at Kohls might have something I could wear – NOPE! I don’t know what everyone does who is stuck with the dry clean curvy fit pants.
      Basically I am at a loss for curvy fit pants that actually fit well and are machine washable.

  26. Pants are a nightmare, I’m with the other commeters who stick to skirts and dresses. I have one pair I sometimes wear to work, but they’re a little loose. It’s wicked hard finding affordable pants in short/petite sizes that also fit my waist properly. also in typical immature vintage-loving fashion (or lack of fashion I guess) I prefer high-waisted slacks to the “modern fit” ones, and those are hard to find. I miss my old pants, they were perfect :(

    Hey fashion industry, you paying attention? Maybe it’s time to re-think your approach to women’s pants!

  27. If it’s a pant with “skinny” in the name or it’s leggings, it’s too tight to be warn at the office if you are in a professional dress code office. Unfortunately some of the women at my professional dress code office do not understand this and wear their skinny jeans to work. Skinny jeans are not work appropriate attire!!
    (There is no official dress code though there is an unwritten one and unfortunately they haven’t figured out that skinny jeans do not look professional and I’m not their boss so I can’t tell them)

  28. I would love a “pants just right” visual added to the above too loose/too tight.

  29. anonymoustoo :

    I also have a real problem purchasing correctly fitting office pants. Because I have been so paranoid about not wanting to wear anything “too tight,” I have purchased pants that barely fit – veering to too loose. Then I will lose a few pounds and they become unwearable. It’s really frustrating. I have had pants tailored as well but that doesn’t help when I loose just a few pounds and I can’t wear the pants that I have spent $80 a pop on.

  30. I usually swear by Banana Republic’s Martin fit, though lately I’ve been wishing for a slightly higher waistline. As a rule, I try to stick to fully lined pants, which helps with fit and panty-line issues.

  31. I realize this is an old thread, but hoping someone can help me. I’ve got a pair of athletic-wear pants (stretchy polyester blend with fleece lining inside) that “smiles” across the butt. If I pull the fabric maybe an inch on both the left and right to flatten it slightly, then the smile lines go away. Does that mean that the crotch is too high, and is there any way to fix it? Thanks—

  32. Ugh, I hate pants! They are the bane of my existence. I’ve been wearing some jeans in a size too large all year (I’m broke so can’t afford to buy a new pair whenever/don’t want to buy cheep ones that will wear quickly) and today finally bought some good shorts in what I thought were the right size. But of course it wasn’t until I got home that I realized they were too small. They’re giving me a slight camel toe and slight muffin top, which I didn’t notice in the changing room. Worst part though, both of them are really good brand name jeans so if I’d bought them in the right size they probably would have been perfect, but for now looking somewhat stylish remains out of my reach. The struggle is real.